DOH mulls ‘special week’ for COVID-19 vaccination in September

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 31) — The Department of Health (DOH) is planning to conduct a “special week” for COVID-19 vaccination nationwide by the end of September in a bid to ramp up the country’s immunity.

“We are planning for a special week of vaccination drive para sa buong Pilipinas this coming end of the month for September,” said DOH Officer-in-Charge Ma. Rosario Vergeire in a press briefing Wednesday. “Inaayos lang natin ang mga detalye. Pero iyan po yung isa sa mga hakbang natin para mas maipalawig ang pagpapabakuna sa iba’t-ibang rehiyon ng ating bansa.”

[Translation: We are planning for a special week of vaccination drive for the entire Philippines this coming end of September. We are still working on the details. But this is one of our measures to expand the vaccination in various regions of the country.]

The national government launched the “PinasLakas” booster campaign last July, which seeks to provide primary doses to 90% of the target elderly population and inoculate at least 50% of the target population with the first booster dose.

But since the campaign was launched, Vergeire said that the number of inoculated senior citizens and boosted individuals has remained low.

The DOH noted that only 24,661 elderlies have been vaccinated against COVID-19 so far since July. Meanwhile, only 2.1 million of the target population received their first booster shot during the campaign.

Vergeire said the DOH is already coordinating with its regional offices and vaccine operations centers to discuss further strategies in boosting the number of vaccinated Filipinos. She added that the DOH will also meet with local government units on Friday regarding the matter.

As of August 30, DOH data showed that almost 72.5 million Filipinos are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Of this, around 18 million and 2.2 million individuals have received their first booster dose and second booster shot, respectively.